The first six years of Norfolk Southern’s sustainability journey have taught us much about the connection between corporate responsibility and business success. One thing stands out for me as a cornerstone of continuous progress – employee engagement.
Employee engagement is the heart and soul driving our sustainability initiatives. The active participation of our employees is embedding sustainability into our operational fabric. I see and hear signs that employees are thinking about how natural occurrences affect business operations. For example, one employee engaged me in discussion about the implication of rising sea levels on rail facilities. Others have pursued achieving energy savings beyond locomotives and expanding recycling efforts. These anecdotal observations tell me that employees throughout the company – not just the “sustainability officers” – are living and thinking corporate responsibility.
These signs are gratifying. They will help define our future. In the formative years of our sustainability program, we focused on efficiency improvements and made incremental progress. Over the next five years, with the full engagement of our people, we will look at a spectrum of energy programs, fuel and nonfuel. We will want to complete implementation of our flagship fuel-efficiency project, LEADER, which helps us conserve fuel, reduce emissions, and lower the costs of maintaining locomotives. We’ll continue also with network capacity enhancements. The convergence of these efficiency improvements – energy, fuel, and network – ultimately will optimize capacity to deliver service, improve velocity, and reduce congestion on the system.
That’s the real success of sustainability – employee engagement leading to ongoing industry leadership in safety, operations, and environmental stewardship, all playing out in daily railroad life.
Vice President Real Estate
and Corporate Sustainability Officer
Description of key impacts, risks and opportunities, how these are prioritized, performance progress and processes, how sustainability impacts financial performance, a table outlining performance targets, and governance mechanisms in place to manage these risks and opportunities.